Academic administrator Thomas A. Parham was born on October 2, 1954 in St. Albans, Queens, New York to William and Sadie Parham. After graduating from Daniel Murphy High School in Los Angeles, California in 1972, he earned his B.A. degree in social ecology in 1977 from the University of California, Irvine, his M.A. degree in counseling psychology in 1978 from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and his Ph.D. degree in counseling psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois in 1982.
Parham served as assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, from 1982 to 1985. He joined the administration at the University of California, Irvine in 1985; and, served as an adjunct faculty member. There, he held several positions over thirty-three years including: assistant vice chancellor for counseling and health services; Counseling Center director; Career and Life Planning Center director; and vice chancellor for student affairs.
In 1986, he was appointed to the City of Irvine’s Human Relations Committee, and helped draft their first human rights ordinance, which was passed by the city council. He also served as chair of UCI’s Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium and worked to expand the university boundaries within the community and the greater Orange County area. Parham was appointed the 11th president of California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2018.
Parham served as a licensed psychologist for over twenty-seven years, and is also recognized as a scholar and practitioner, with a research focus in the area of psychological negrescence, specifically on identity development, African psychology, and multicultural counseling. In addition to writing over forty-five journal articles and/or book chapters, he authored Psychological Storms: The African American Struggle for Identity in 1997 and Counseling Persons of African Descent: Raising the Bar of Practitioner Competence in 2002. He co-authored Culturally Adaptive Counseling Skills: Demonstrations of Evidence-Based Practices in 2011 and The Psychology of Blacks: Centering Our Perspectives in the African Consciousness in 2011.
His works on video are available through the American Psychological Association including; Counseling African Americans, Youth and Violence, and Innovative Approaches to Counseling African Descent People available through Microtraining & Associates, and Working with African American Clients.
An alumnus of the American Psychological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program, Parham has fellow status in divisions seventeen and forty-five of the American Psychological Association and also with the American Counseling Association. He has held the title of distinguished psychologist in the Association of Black Psychologists.
Parham served as president of the National Association of Black Psychologists and the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development. He served on the editorial board for the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development and the Journal of Counseling and Development, and served as an ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Black Psychology. Parham served as a treating clinician for the NFL program for substance of abuse (NFLPSA).
He was the recipient of the 2018 Illustrious Leadership Award from the American Psychological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program.
Thomas A. Parham was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 14, 2018.
St. Albans, Queens
Life at it's Best is a Creative Synthesis
Academic administrator Thomas A. Parham (1954- ) was named president of California State University, Dominguez Hills. He previously served as vice chancellor at University of California, Irvine.